Last Updated on October 27th, 2020
On September 28th, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a hotline in response to two Executive Orders. Under the direction of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), a new email address was also issued. These communication methods are to receive and investigate complaints under existing Executive Order (EO) 11246 and the recent EO 13950. Both EO’s cover federal contractors. The new OFCCP Complaint Hotline is available at (202) 343-2008 or via email at OFCCPComplaintHotline@dol.gov.
After the hotline launched, the OFCCP created a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) webpage dedicated to EO 13950. The contents of the FAQ (created on October 7th, 2020) include:
- Examples of race or sex stereotyping and scapegoating;
- Unlawful stereotyping and scapegoating in training programs; and
- How to file a complaint under EO 13950.
On October 21st, 2020, the OFCCP announced it would release a Request for Information (RFI) as required under EO 13950. That release is schedule for October 22nd. The RFI seeks information about federal contractor and subcontractor training, workshops, or similar programing provided to employees. Federal contractors and subcontractors, as well as their employees, can provide materials in response to the RFI. The DOL will use the information submitted in order to develop materials and focus its enforcement of EO 13950.
Employers can locate the complaint contact information, FAQs, and the recently issued RFI on a newly launched DOL webpage. This was specifically created by the OFCCP to contain the latest information released on EO 13950.
Background of Executive Order 13950
Issued on September 22nd, 2020, EO 13950:
- promotes economy and efficiency in federal contracting;
- promotes unity in the federal workforce; and
- combats offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating.
The order also enables employees to file complaints against a federal contractor using training in violation of EO 13950. Effective immediately, the EO applies to contractors who enter into federal contracts on or after November 21st, 2020.Connection Between Executive Orders 11246 and 13950
Training programs prohibited by EO 13950, however, might violate training obligations under the existing EO 11246. EO 11246 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and national origin. It also prohibits inquiring about, discussing, or disclosing personal compensation or the compensation of others. An employee may file a complaint regarding training they believe to be in violation via the OFCCP’s website at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ofccp/contact/file-complaint. The OFCCP can also send copies of the complaint form by email or regular mail.
Additional Laws Enforced by the OFCCP
The OFCCP also enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act. These laws make it illegal for federal government contractors and subcontractors to discriminate in employment on certain characteristics. These traits are race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran.
In addition, applicants or employees cannot experience discrimination because they have discussed their compensation or the compensation of others. Contractors and subcontractors also can not retaliate against applicants or employees for engaging in protected activities. These laws also require that federal contractors provide equal employment opportunity through affirmative action. For more information, individuals can call OFCCP’s toll-free helpline at (800) 397-6251 or visit https://www.dol.gov/ofccp/.
Although the Executive Orders mentioned in this blog cover federal contractors, all employers need to take anti-discrimination training seriously. If your workplace has 15 or more employees, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act explicitly prohibits discrimination in the workplace on the basis of race, religion, national origin, and sex. Many states and local governments, however, also have anti-discrimination training laws in place for employers with fewer employees. Employers need to investigate which, if any, state-specific anti-discrimination laws they need to follow, and make sure that all employees are fully trained on the workplace’s discrimination prevention policies and procedures.